As part of its continuing effort to reduce acts of violence among students both in and out of school, the Dubuque Community School District is launching a new program to aid its efforts.

Called the Green Dot etc. strategy (commonly referred to as simply Green Dot), it is a comprehensive approach to violence prevention that capitalizes on the power of peer and cultural influence across all levels of the socio-ecological model.

This district will eventually implement the program for all middle and high school students, beginning with a training of school teams from November 18-22 and ultimately beginning the program district wide by spring 2014.

Informed by social change theory, the Green Dot model targets all community members as potential bystanders. It then seeks to engage them (through awareness, education and skills-practice) in proactive behaviors that establish intolerance of violence as the norm. It also looks to engage them in reactive interventions in high-risk situations – resulting in the ultimate reduction of violence.

“The Green Dot program is focused on creating change by empowering the students themselves to be the change,” said Mae Hingtgen, the district’s behavior support specialist. “They have the most power to change the social norms around violence and this model fits perfectly into our ongoing efforts to create a culture that always focuses on respect and support while creating safe places for students to learn.”

Specifically, the program targets influential and respected individuals from across school subgroups. The goal is for these groups to engage in a basic education program that will equip them to integrate moments of prevention within existing relationships and daily activities. By doing so, new norms will be introduced and those within their sphere of influence will be significantly influenced to move from passive agreement that violence is wrong, to active intervention.

Conceptually, Green Dot etc. is comprised of three basic components:

  • A single choice in one moment in time to use your voice, actions or choices to make one small corner of the world safer.
  • A shared vision that creates momentum through the power of a common language and purpose.
  • A social movement that harnesses the power of peer influence and individual bystander choices to create lasting culture change resulting in the ultimate reduction of power-based personal violence.

For more information, contact the DCSD School and Community Relations Office at (563)552-3020.